Archive for September, 2010

From the Halesowen News 23rd September 2010

MASSIVE cuts to services enabling elderly and vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes will be top of the agenda at a meeting in Sandwell tomorrow.

The borough council fears it will it will have to slash 30 per cent from the Government-grant based Supporting People Programme over the next three years….

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From Tewkesbury AdMag 23rd September 2010

THOUSANDS of vulnerable people throughout the Vale and across Worcestershire could be left to fend for themselves if Government cuts to housing budgets become a reality.

Women fleeing domestic violence, pensioners who rely on home-help support and people with mental health problems are expected to be among the worst affected as the National Housing Federation announced that, under instruction from the Treasury, it was preparing for cutbacks of up to 40 per cent….

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Granada News Report, on cuts in the NorthWest, featuring @BendyGirl talking about her fears about DLA cuts.

From Pulse. 15th September 2010

Exclusive: PCTs are cutting Local Enhanced Service funding for counselling and other mental health services, a Pulse investigation reveals.

Our analysis of data obtained from 129 English PCTs under the Freedom of Information Act show nearly a third of trusts providing a mental health LES last year have decided to stop funding them.

Of the 17 trusts who had mental health LESs in place in 2009/10, five said they would not continue funding beyond the last financial year and GPs in these areas have not received any funding since April.

NHS South Gloucestershire scrapped its depression LES, while NHS City and Hackney axed its mental health LES. PCTs in Bristol, Bournemouth and Somerset all cut their LESs that had provided counselling services for people with depression, mental illnesses and drug abuse.

Click here to find out more!A spokesperson for NHS South Gloucestershire said: ‘We did have a LES with GPs with a value of approximately £100,000. This was discontinued when we significantly increased the amount we spend on primary mental health services to approximately £1.2 million. Services are now delivered through an IAPT programme and counselling services delivered by other providers.’

A spokesperson for NHS City and Hackney said: ‘A review by the commissioning of primary care board, which includes GPs in its membership, came to the conclusion that there was an overlap with QOF. Depression in 2010-11 is covered under QOF.’

Since April trusts have received funding from the Department of Health to set up IAPT services as part of their baseline budgets, rather than as direct DH grants to pilot areas as previously. Mental health campaign groups have warned that the lack of ringfenced funds meant existing talking treatments and counselling services are being edged out in some areas….

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From the Rye and Battle Observer. 17th September 2010

EASTBOURNE Borough Council has called on the PCT to rethink its proposal to close inpatient beds at the DGH’s psychiatric ward.

The NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and the NHS Hastings and Rother plans to cut the 122 in-patient beds at Eastbourne DGH and the Conquest in Hastings by 30.

The proposal was met with concerns by Eastbourne councillors who raised their concerns at a council meeting in Eastbourne Town Hall on Wednesday night (September 15).

Councillor Greg Szanto said care for psychiatric patients was already ‘inadequate’ and ‘inhumane’.

Cllr Szanto said, “The reality is the people who need inpatient care desperately need it. Sadly most are in prison and thousands and thousands are on the streets or living in accommodation which is completely inadequate.

“Suggesting we do not need these inpatient beds in nonsense.

“The strength of a community can be measured by the care it provides for its most vulnerable members. The most vulnerable group in our community, as it is in any community, is those suffering from acute mental illness……

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From Nursery World. 15th September 2010

Early intervention services in the NHS that promote infant mental health and attachment are being targeted for cuts in some areas, a leading child psychiatrist has warned.

Dr Shirley Gracias, a consultant in infant, child and adolescent psychiatry, and ex-chair of the Association for Infant Mental Health UK (AIMH UK), commented following the International Association for the Study of Attachment, which took place at the end of August.

She said, ‘I am alarmed by the approach being taken by some in the NHS towards the mental health of infants. Helping parents to form attachments with their babies is being seen as a dispensable luxury, with funding being withdrawn……

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OPPOSITION is being directed at council proposals to axe a mental health day centre.

Users of the Redbridge Resource Centre, Ley Street, Ilford, say council chiefs will have “blood on their hands” if they go through with proposals to close it for good.

They are looking at yearly savings of £551,000 by axing the Monday to Friday service, which has 145 active users, as well as closing a housing complex for those with mental health needs.

Ian Levene, of Mount Pleasant, Ilford, has been using the day centre for 10 years.

He said: “It’s a place where people can meet friends and can get on with their lives without being indoors all the time.”

Mr Levene added: “We know cuts have to me made – they (council chiefs) should cap their salaries. If they’ve been throwing money around for years and years, don’t blame us.”

The centre houses an art and TV room, as well as facilities for massage and quiet time.

Polly Kourtellas, 47, has relied on the centre for five years.

Polly, of Fullwell Avenue, Barkingside, said: “It helps me to not be isolated indoors. The only place I eat is at the centre.

“I’m on medication and if I feel isolated it makes me self-harm. It’s helped me a hell of a lot.”

Council bosses say relocating service users to existing schemes in the borough will be a “considerable challenge”.

The proposals are part of £5.8million of savings being made by the council to offset government budget cuts.

Town Hall bosses are also proposing to close Abury House, Aldborough Road North, Newbury Park, which is a supported accommodation complex with nine purpose-built flats for people with mental health needs…..

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From the Shields Gazette. 14th September 2010

PAGES 4 & 5 of Friday’s Gazette showed in eloquent detail how South Tyneside Council and the chosen lead members who share Cabinet responsibility are responsible for the demise of this borough over time.

First, let me say that I recognise the depleted budgets through the new coalition government that have been channelled down to councils, whatever their political persuasion.

However, it does not inform councils, as far as I am aware, how to manage that budget on a service-by-service basis, which is why I am appalled at the decision to stop subsidies to eight luncheon clubs and other charitable agents.

These meals are predominantly enjoyed by the aged and disabled, and in many instances are the only opportunity to socialise in an otherwise alien world it is their misfortune to inhabit. The saving – some £160,000 a year!…

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From the Herald. 14th September 2010

Hundreds of desperate families in Scotland are living in fear of losing out on £61m of funding due to government cutbacks.

The money is Scotland’s share of the Independent Living Fund, a £360m pot for some of the most disabled people in the UK, which was set up to help those who choose to live in the community rather than in residential care.

In some cases, families use the money to pay for additional carers to enable disabled adults to have a social life, or take part in sports or other activities. For many it helps to provide a break for family members who often undertake hours of unpaid caring duties.

Disability campaigners were already concerned about a decision taken earlier this year to refuse applications from anyone not working a minimum of 16 hours a week. Then in June, after two months of the financial year, the fund was effectively closed for business as it had run out of money for new applicants.

Now, officials within the Department for Work and Pensions have warned a Scottish disability project that the fund could be handed over to local councils, or the Department of Health, but with no money to fund new applicants. After that it could face complete closure within four years…..

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From the Shropshire Star. 16th September 2010

Blog:Life seems to be going on as normal in Shropshire despite the massive savings (or do we say cuts?) Shirehall bosses plan to make.

For example, from my office window I can see cars queuing to get on to a supermarket car park and early today the roads were heavy with traffic, lorries transporting goods and countless cars speeding people to work.

Sauntering along the town pavements were large numbers of secondary school pupils, chatting and laughing with, it would appear, hardly a care in the world.

Nothing seems different.

But a council can’t find savings of nearly £60 million over three years without something changing and someone being hurt.

This hit home at a meeting of the Shropshire Council cabinet which was considering a list of budget ideas of next year.

About £200,000 could be saved by closing the Grange day centre in Shrewsbury…..

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